It ins the most mountainous region of Italy, entirely surrounded by the best known, splendid peaks of the Alps: the Monte Bianco, the Matterhorn, the Monte Rosa and the Gran Paradiso. The latter is at the center of a magnificent National Park, populated by beautiful specimens of ibex, chamois and eagle. Numerous glaciers feed a rich web of streams, which at the bottom of the respective valleys flow in the basin of the Dora Baltea. The distinctly Alpine character of this region can be seen in the pine forests, up to rather high altitudes, where they give place to large pasturelands. The small Alpine lakes, little jewels set in majestic mountain landscapes, are numerous. Thanks to the Monte Bianco’s and the Gran San Bernardo’s tunnels, the great historic passes are today important lines of communication.
Cities: Aosta is the capital of the region, which is ruled by a special statute, where the Italian and the French languages are officially recognized.
Important traces of the Roman Age can be found in Aosta: the city walls, the theater, Augustus’s Arch, the Pretorian Gate. Visitors can admire the Romanesque Cathedral, which dates back to the eleventh century. The Sant’Orso Church is a good example of medieval architecture. Many are the fortified castles in the Aosta Valley; moist of them are in perfect conditions and open to visitors; many have become museums of local history. The most famous are the castles of Fénis, of Aymavilles, of Issogne and Verrés.
To be visited:
The Matterhorn, the Monte Rosa, the Monte Bianco, which can be reached by the loftiest cableway in Europe; the beautiful National Park of Gran Paradiso; in winter, the numerous ski resorts. There are the typical villages with the quaint local houses (rascards). St. Vincent and its Casino offer a wide range of entertainment.